Can Doug Ducey tout cuts and compassion
January 8, 2015I detected echoes of Jack Kemp in Gov. Doug Ducey’s inauguration speech.
Most conservatives support free markets and limited government primarily based upon the belief that they are more compatible with and conducive to individual liberty.
Kemp believed that. But he was animated by a desire to see the lives of the poor and disadvantaged improved. He passionately believed that expanded opportunity in the private sector would do far more to accomplish that than government welfare programs. And he was a dedicated evangelist for that proposition.
Kemp was best known as the architect of Ronald Reagan’s across-the-board tax cuts while a congressman. He also served as housing secretary under George H.W. Bush and was Bob Dole’s vice presidential candidate in 1996.
Liberals, of course, believe that government programs are the way to help the poor and don’t think conservatives truly care about the less fortunate. Kemp’s passion was so consistent and transparent, however, that even liberals had to concede his sincerity.
Ducey certainly doesn’t have Kemp’s evangelical streak. But I was struck by how he rooted his approach to the governorship in expanding opportunity for all and educational access irrespective of family circumstances.
In his speech, Ducey said: “It will be a first principle of my agenda that schools and choices available to affluent parents must be open to all parents, whatever their means, wherever they live, period.”
I was particularly struck by this passage: “Opportunity is just a platitude unless all Arizonans are included, everyone given a fair chance and even a second chance, no one forgotten, no one written off.”
The “and even a second chance” suggests something deeper than just a speechwriter fleshing out a theme.
For liberals, Kemp is a singular exception to their rule that conservatives don’t care about the poor and disadvantaged. And Ducey will soon be pilloried for the claimed disjunction between his inauguration speech words and the austere state budget he indicated he would be submitting.
I have a feeling, however, that our new governor may be more complex than the caricature of him that is being developed by the left.
Reach Robb at email@example.com.